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“The concept of a government ‘monopoly on force’ may sound inconsistent with the political traditions of a country steeped in stories of its own revolution, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any nation-state.” – Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Will the Guys with the [Printed] Guns Make the Rules? [via]

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  1. No the state should NEVER have the monoploy of force. That’s tyranny.
    The state can have the monopoly of ***initialing*** force due to the fact that the state should enforce laws however having all the “force”, no.
    Free, armed, and aware.

    • No one has the moral authority to initiate force.

      A state enforcing mala en se laws is force used in denfense of others (the victim of a crime). A state enforcing mala prohibita laws is an immoral use of force against someone who is harming no one.

      If it is immoral for an individual to initiate non-defensive force, then it is no less immoral for a group of individuals to do the same.

  2. Isn’t this an Ayn Rand concept? Seems like he’s skewing it a bit though.

    But it’s really “legal use of monopoly of physical force”. That just means that the gov’t can put you in jail, and private enterprise cannot jail you. You cannot murder someone if they murder your friend. etc.

    Guns themselves are not the force, the USING of guns is the force. He’s twisting it a bit for his own means.

    We already have laws that proscribe murder, and violent crime. That’s enough.

    • This definition of Government pre-dates Rand. She certainly used it, because it is a logically consistent and unavoidable conclusion.

    • “the gov’t can put you in jail, and private enterprise cannot jail you”

      What if you are bound by a contract that says the other (private) party can put you in jail?

      We give up our rights daily to other private parties: the right to free speech, the right to carry a gun, the right to be free from searches, the right to sue, etc.

      Ultimately, do people have the right to contract themselves into slavery?

      • You may sign such a contract, I wouldn’t.

        The social contract argument is well worn tangent. I’d refer you to Spooners work “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority” -1867.

        But arguments for or against the social contract are irrelevant to the concept that Government is force.

        • New Chris,

          I love Lysander’s works, everyone should be required to read The Constitution of NO authority!

        • I would totally sign that contract, as it wouldn’t hold up in any court of law in this country and you’d probably retain the benefits the contract bestowed upon you.

          Take a look at the literature on anti-compete clauses. Just because you sign something, doesn’t mean its enforceable.

        • In many states if men (willingly or because they are unemployed and broke) fail to pay child support for two months they go right to jail. It’s not called debtor’s prison as it is called disrespecting the order of the Court. Same thing. The criminal courts are biased against men and boys.

    • It’s an Microeconomics 101 concept, but it’s purposefully misworded. The phrase that I was taught as a college freshman is that one of government’s central purposes is to maintain a monopoly on violence. The force vs. violence distinction is an important one because violence is assaulting someone for a criminal purpose, whereas defending yourself against that assault, it can, and should, be argued, is not violence, but falls within this broader “force” wording that they’re trying to force down our throats.

  3. The concept of a government ‘monopoly on force’ may sound inconsistent with the political traditions of a country steeped in stories of its own revolution, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any dictatorship.” – Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership, Will the Guys with the [Printed] Guns Make the Rules? [via]

    Fixed a couple of typos you had.

    Oh, and a tip – how about next time you just post a screenshot of the article instead of an actual hyperlink? That way people who want to read it to see just how psychotic he is don’t end up giving money to The Huffington Joke.

  4. Josh Horwitz stated, “The concept of a government ‘monopoly on force’ may sound inconsistent with the political traditions of a country steeped in stories of its own revolution, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any nation-state dictatorship.”

    There, fixed that for you.

  5. “The concept of a government ‘monopoly on force’ may sound inconsistent with the political traditions of a country steeped in stories of its own revolution, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any authoritarian or totalitarian state.”

    On a side note, I really find it quite pathetic that an organization called “Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” tends to target the rights of law abiding citizens rather than focusing on the actual perpetrators of gun violence. Perhaps Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership wouldn’t sell as well emotionally.

    • I always change it in my head while reading it and call it what it is – the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership…just like how we have Mayors Against Legal Guns.

  6. I fail to see how citizens are “safe” if government agents have a monopoly on the tools of deadly force. There are two simple observations:
    (1) If armed government agents provided security, there wouldn’t be hundreds of thousands or millions of violent crimes in countries like the U.S. or the U.K.
    (2) If government agents have a monopoly on the tools of deadly force, who polices them? Recent experience proves this has been disastrous to over 100 million people over the last 100 years in the likes of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, etc.

    If simple observation shows that citizens are obviously NOT safe when government has a monopoly on the tools of deadly force, what is the actual objective then?

    • You observations are correct.

      No one should have the legal authority to initiate force against peaceful people.

      This is usually referred to as the non-aggression principle (or the principle of non-aggression).

      It’s a well established bit of philosophy which is worth understanding.

  7. Actually, the Government being defined as, the one institution in society with has a legal monopoly on force, is pretty old and well established.

    That is the fundamental difference between a private institution and a public one.

    Walmart cannot force you to pay for its services, even if you don’t need, use, or want them. Nor can they arrest you and seize your property if you refuse their demands for payment.

    The Government can and does.

    Government is also not immune from all the negative consequences of any imposed monopoly.

    Government IS force, and if you don’t understand that fundamental concept, then you are not qualified to offer opinions about it.

    • Walmart cannot force you to pay for its services, even if you don’t need, use, or want them.

      No, but as we saw with the auto industry bailout and the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, the government can either force you to buy it or forcefully take your money and hand it to them.

      • Right the Government can force you… not Walmart.

        That corporations use the force of government is not an argument against the premise that Government is force.

        That corporations are a legal fiction created by the Government is a interesting tangent.

        • Yes, Walmart can, but they didn’t create the force, the’re just using it.

          If they don’t use it, someone else will.

          The problem is the legitimacy of force, not who is using it.

  8. I’d like Horwitz to tell me how many of those nation/states/countries that have come and gone in the last ten-thousand years, with their ‘monopolies on force’, that he’d like to live in. I’m guessing not to many. Progressives should take one out of their own playbook here and realize that the status quo isn’t always a good thing.

    • You are mistaken. Mr. Horwitz would love to live in a totalitarian state because he believes that he will be in the group holding power. Perhaps it would be better to ask him the John Rawls question: When you are writing the social contract without knowledge of where you will fall in the social hierarchy would you prefer a society where only the government has the guns or both you and the government have the guns. Rawls believed that a rational decision maker would choose the social contract using a maximin (or maximum minimum) solution, i.e., he would go for a Second Amendment based society where there are checks against both unbridled government power and anarchy.

  9. A monopoly on the legitimate use of force is the founding principle of every government. But the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is who decides what is legitimate. Is it the people, or is it one man? That’s the relevant distinction.

    If you haven’t, you should take the time to read “Starship Troopers” by Robert A Heinlein.

    • Starship Troopers was intended to demonstrate how a military dictatorship could be portrayed as sympathetic.

      Like Orwell’s “1984” It was meant as a warning, not a suggested course of action.

      For a much more thought out out exposition on the nature of law, check out Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law”- 1801.

      • Wow, how did you come to that conclusion, I believe you need to re-read the book.
        The premise of the book is that only those willing to give thier life for thier society have a right to govern in that society; those who volunteer in thier armed services are citizens and have the right to vote: those who don’t choose to serve are civilians and can’t vote.
        It is made clear all are free to volunteer and for those physically unable to pick up a gun are able to serve in administrative ways that is still challenging.
        We all could learn something about civic duty by reading this book.

        • Let’s agree that it’s a book full of rich concepts.

          A society where people have to earn their rights though service is tough to defend if you understand what the term “right” actually means.

          Though many people would argue that a “right” is just begging a sociopath not to hurt you… Oh the tangents!!!

          I like R.A.H.

          I much prefer “The Moon is Harsh Mistress.”

        • I also like R.A.H., “The moon is a harsh mistress” “Stranger in a strange land” is a thought provoking book as well.
          Anyway, there are responsibilities that come with those rights, we have on the books today about being a citizen soldier ready to be called up with battle field weapons in hand to defend against enemies foreighn and domestic, Switzerland actually enforces those laws, unlike us and they have been at peace for over two hundred years.
          If there are going to be requirements to practice a “right” ( which can be debated, I agree, but is the reality we have today) then having a requirement that one be willing to put your life on the line to protect your society as a citizen soldier is one I agree with; especially when history shows that a culture has greater freedom and less tyranny that practices this requirement; but when people get lazy and want a “professional” military or police force to keep them safe, it ALWAYS lead to a dictatorship.

      • In Starship Troopers, soldiers did not have the right to vote. That came only after they satisfactorily completed their terms of service and were no longer part of the military.

  10. The government works for us. Please dust off your civics texts Mr. Horowitz and refer to “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” If government has a monopoly on force, we cease to have this arrangement in place for when push comes to shove, there is no push and there is no shove. Cede the resort to force and you cede your freedom.

    • I don’t mean to be incendiary, but you may need to take your own advise regarding civics texts.

      The nature of Government being a monopoly of force, is not a new or controversial assertion.

      It used to be well understood by people who read their civics texts.

      I completely agree with your second assertion though .

      “Cede the resort to force and you cede your freedom.”

      What logical conclusions can we arrive at given these two premises?

      • I didn’t say it was a new or controversial assertion. It is, in fact, the norm throughout history. It is the United States of America that is the historical anomaly with all this “of the people” business and a constitutional structure aimed at preserving it. I guess I should have been more clear and said “Our government (here in the USofA) works for us” rather than “The government works for us.”

        • My mistake.

          Your Government, my Government, their Government, our Government, doesn’t matter.

          All Governments are rooted in the idea of a small number of people having the power to use force to impose their will on the majority.

          How those people are chosen, and what limits they have may vary, but every Government, be they military dictatorship or democratic republic, is rooted in this principle.

          Now the validity of that principle is something we can debate… but it would be inappropriate to do so here.

  11. “The concept of a government ‘monopoly on force’ may sound inconsistent with the political traditions of a country steeped in stories of its own revolution, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any nation-state.” – Josh Horwitz,

    Once again, the left trots out its “Gun Control = Civilization” diatribe. Its as credible as the Flat Earth Theory.

    In the past-as in before the NFA act-life in America was rather civil. Chicago didn’t have any gun bans or restrictions back then, and people were quite nice to each other. In a major city where people male and female legally carried concealed pistols , life was quite civilized. The malcontents who disrespected a man’s wife would expect a .32 Auto bullet to the dome.

    Now, after “proper civilized gun control laws” the Chicago Police Department has a monopoly on lethal force. Heller decision notwithstanding, a private citizen who uses a weapon in the Windy City for legit self defense *will * be carted off to jail before being cleared.In this era of modern civilized gun control, last month more people got shot dead in Chicago than we lost in military casualties overseas. Sensible respect and civic manners are just as dead. So much for Mr. Horowitz’s article.

    He did get one part of the article right-the people with the guns make the rules. Since criminals will always be armed regardless of the law, they’ll the one’s making the rules in a disarmed society.

  12. Mr. Horowitz seems to be what people like Hitler, Stalin and Mao would have thought of as a “useful idiot”.

    Willing to parrot the party line but with no deeper understanding of the implications of what he is saying and no willingness to understand. He has a blind trust in authority that makes him unable to consider what could happen if said Authorities were not trustworthy.

    He also seems to think that his safety is Someone-Else’s-responsibility.

    Mr. Horowitz does not realize that he lives in a bubble of safety which is made of soap.

  13. The organizing principle of any nation-state is the agreement of its citizens to live together in society. It is not the handing over of all power to some entity separate from us. Josh Horror is advocating for a tyranny here, not any kind of society that we’d accept.

  14. Yesterday, the Examiner posted a piece on CSGV. Here are just a couple quotes:

    “CSGV has argued that even the government rounding people up based on race or religion, and sending them to concentration camps, would not justify armed resistance.”

    “Last night on Twitter, CSGV was again challenged on its genocide-enabling advocacy of such a monopoly. They replied with their usual “government monopoly on force is the organizing principle of every government” claim. It was then pointed out that many governments, including ours in the U.S., recognize the right of private citizens to use force, including lethal force, in self-defense.

    The reply was stunning–and chilling:
    “Sure. But the issue here is the use of political violence.”

    CSGV backs government ‘right’ to political violence against citizens

  15. The state’s monopoly on force is the reason why the Midwest is not being ravaged by bands of condottieri and corporations with their private militias acting like the mafia, or why we don’t have giant PMCs taking over small countries, medling with the internal affair of other’s and starting wars left and right just to keep the war market warm. It has nothing to do with the fundamental human right of self-defense and the private ownership of weapons by civilians (or a civilian militia, which is a tool of self defense against an invader). Since this distinction is no so easy to be grasped, I will assume this clown simply inadvertently “misunderstood” the concept of a government… with a grain of salt.

  16. We need the antis to show their true colors a lot more like this guy, and then share their words with everyone we know who’s on the fence about buying a gun. Of the very few people I’ve converted, they later told me the deciding factor was doing a bit of reading on dictatorships I told them about and then reading quotes like this more closely. they found the quite obvious parallels to be astounding.

    This moron probably thinks he’d be crowned king, lord, and emperor if his totalitarian state came to fruition.

  17. All nations that I’m aware of were formed in violence. Does the government have a monopoly on force? They have a monopoly on group force. I can go into my safe and bring out my shotgun. Barry can go into hos safe and bring out an armored division. Gives him an advantage.

  18. The “monopoly on the use of force” does not refer to the quantity of force or the tools of force, but rather to the legality of force.

    It is legal for governments to use force against those they rule in order to enact their edicts. It is illegal for the ruled to use force against the government in defense of freedom or simply self-preservation.

    The government makes the “laws”, therefore they have a monopoly on the “legality” of force. Once that is recognized by liberty-loving, free men, it’s pretty hard to have any respect for “THE LAW.”

    • But I thought that a civilian unorganized militia, and the right to keep and bare arms were to give teeth to the idea that the government can not initiate a soft or hard tyranny against us?
      I guess the founding fathers were wrong?
      Oh well, thanks for messing up my day Josh!

  19. I just read all the posts here and am VERY impressed with all the books referenced, quotes cited, and levels of discussion here. Apparently we ARE NOT all a bunch of inbred mutant spam sucking hillbillys, because I see signs of higher education all over this topic. And most certainly higher levels of retention and understanding of how a government works than Mr. Josh Horwitz exhibited in his statement. I personally am not surprised, but I’d bet money that Mr. Horwitz wouldn’t believe that any gun owners have read Ayn Rand, Starship Trooper, case law on slavery, Frederic Bastiat, and be able to discuss all of these with other gun owners. This has made me rethink my opinion of Ted Nugent having his own show representing the shooting public to the unwashed masses. I think Ted could hold a discussion at the level of this thread, but will he choose too, or will he revert to his schtick of “kill ’em and grill ’em” yee haw, gonna kill me some Bambies act that he also does.

    • There is a very good reason the antis will not have an open debate on gun control. People like the posters in this forum will undoubtedly shred their hypocracy and rub their nose in it.

      I have held my own in a couple of friendly discussions vs gun control advocates where I work, but every now and again I run into someone more educated and articulate. They will be ready and on time with their arguments, whereas I would need time to form my rebuttals.

      If the people of the gun would organize and pick representatives, there is no doubt that the public at large would be more resolute about defending and restoring our rights.

  20. So basically he prefers a nation of pussies cravenly subdued by people he thinks won’t hurt him as well?
    Here’s a news flash Mr. Horwitz you would be among the first dispensed with since you aren’t much use to a “force monopoly”
    What’s with a Jewish guy asking for conditions that caused the Holocaust?

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